Mastercard Patent Hints at Plan for Multi-Currency Blockchains

Mastercard Patent Hints at Plan for Multi-Currency Blockchains

Mastercard has won a patent for a proposed system that, if created, would allow for the launch of different kinds of blockchains – including those that support multiple currencies. Published Tuesday by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the patent explains that a group or company may need to store different types of transaction information on a single platform – something that is currently difficult to do on a single blockchain. To counter this issue, MasterCard describes how a specific block-generation method for a permissioned blockchain can ensure that different blocks store different types of information. The document, which was first filed in July 2016, explains that “the transaction records stored in the blocks comprising a blockchain are often required to be of the same format and include the same types, and sometimes even sizes, of data.” However, “in the case of an entity that wants to use multiple types of blockchains, such as a different blockchain for several different currencies,” that source might need to run multiple blockchain platforms, which in turn would require a large amount of computing power. The patent goes on to explain: “There is a need for a technological solution to provide a partitioned blockchain that is capable of storing multiple transaction formats and types in a single blockchain, reducing the computing resources and processing power required for deployment and operation of the blockchain, while also providing for enhanced usage of permissions for permissioned blockchains.” The patent adds that an appropriately partitioned blockchain can receive information about transaction types from different computing devices. Each partition, referred to potentially as a “subnet” by the patent, would store information about a specific type of currency or otherwise hold different types of information than the other subnets. Among financial companies, Mastercard has become a prolific filer of proposed patents, all developed around various use cases of the technology. For example, earlier this year, the firm scored a patent for a system that, as envisioned, would speed up cryptocurrency payments within a proposed system. Editorial credit: Alexander Yakimov / Shutterstock.com The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which…

Cashtippr Plugin Allows Money Button Integration on WordPress Sites

Cashtippr Plugin Allows Money Button Integration on WordPress Sites

Technology & Security On Sept. 13, a new application called the Money Button launched, giving content creators the ability to embed bitcoin cash (BCH) payment buttons into websites. Not long after the release, a developer named Ekliptor published Cashtippr, a plugin that integrates the Money Button into WordPress-themed websites, so content creators can earn BCH tips. Also Read: Electron Cash Developer Reveals In-Wallet BCH Fundraiser Prototype A Revenue Incentive for Content Creators A few weeks ago, news.Bitcoin.com tested the Money Button, but at the time there wasn’t a WordPress plugin available. Then soon after the Money Button launch, Ekliptor released the third-party Cashtippr application, which enables Money Button compatibility with the popular blog hosting service WordPress. An example of the Money Button on a WordPress site. It has a few customizable options to choose from before embedding. Cashtippr is an open source plugin for WordPress-themed sites that have the ability to integrate software modules created by third-party developers. Content creators can install the Cashtippr plugin to receive BCH tips or charge money for hidden or paid content. For instance, if an individual runs a website devoted to their art, they can add a Money Button to the site and collect tips from people who appreciate their work. Additionally, the plugin doesn’t require any coding skills to set up and it can be installed through the WordPress plugin store or the cashtippr.zip file on the Cashtippr project’s website. The Cashtippr console. A Range of Different Use Cases After installing the plugin, users can simply add their BCH addresses in the WordPress admin-panel. Tip buttons can be added to front pages or posts by adding a shortcode: [tippr_button]. If the content creator wants to create a hidden paid content page they can just type: [tippr_hide]your hidden text[/tippr_hide]. The two features only represent the very basics of Cashtippr, but they have a wide variety of use cases, such as selling digital media and unlocking blurry photos or secret video content. The Cashtippr plugin offers a number of options and advanced settings. Cashtippr also includes advanced features that allow WordPress website owners to set limits on how many hidden posts new users can view by using cookies. They can set a range of full access passes to specific hidden content, or…

Taiwan Lawmaker Pitches AML Rules Update to Cover Crypto

Taiwan Lawmaker Pitches AML Rules Update to Cover Crypto

A Taiwanese legislator wants cryptocurrency transactions to abide by the same money laundering laws that govern traditional financial instruments. To that end, Jason Hsu – sometimes referred to as Taiwan’s “crypto congressman” – has proposed an amendment to the nation’s Money Laundering Control Act to cover cryptocurrencies. Under his proposal, the amendment would include new rules for cryptocurrencies specifically, while also attempting to educate the general public about the nascent technology, according to a press release. Hsu’s proposal would also bring Taiwan’s laws in line with the EU’s Anti-Money Laundering Directive, according to the release. It added: “Once it takes effect, cryptocurrency exchanges in Taiwan will be accountable for anti-money laundering. Upon this foundation, customer reviews, transaction record keeping, and reporting suspicious transaction reports will all categorized as the obligations of anti-money laundering.” The move is aimed at supporting blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies as they develop, Hsu said in a statement. While Hsu aims to support the development of the cryptocurrency space, he noted that “all those involved should have the responsibilities to take care of this budding ecosystem.” To that end, he also called for self-regulatory organizations and believes crypto organizations should adhere to certain standards, according to the release. Taiwan flag image via Shutterstock The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

Exchanges Roundup: Coinbase Volumes Hit 1-Year Low, UK Exchange to Fire Most Staff

Exchanges Roundup: Coinbase Volumes Hit 1-Year Low, UK Exchange to Fire Most Staff

Exchanges Recent updates show that with the cryptocurrency markets performing far from how they did a year ago, some exchanges have failed to adapt to the current situation. For example, one U.K. firm is reportedly set to fire most of its employees. Yet other exchanges are still going strong, breaking into new territories and adding new trading instruments. Also Read: The Daily: Crypto Funds Team up With New Startup Hub, FX Broker Adds BCH/BTC Weak Quarterly Trading Volumes Diar, an analysis service for the global digital currency industry, has issued a report highlighting the extremely weak performance of popular crypto exchanges during the third quarter of the year. For example, total USD trading volumes on Coinbase reached their lowest point in a year and total USDT trading volumes on Binance fell from $235 billion in the first quarter to just $106 billion. As the report shows, one way the exchanges are looking to secure growth for the future is by moving toward tokenized securities. “Having made bank on the trading bonanza in the past year, cryptocurrency exchanges are also acutely aware that, for the most part, the tokens they list don’t currently satisfy a utility purpose,” Diar explained. “Diving into deep pockets, exchanges are diversifying their portfolio by investing in various parts of the ecosystem to support the long-term growth of an industry stuck in development. But most notably, exchanges have amped up their investment interest for the possible issuing and trading of tokenized securities.” Coinfloor to Fire Over Half its Employees Coinfloor is in the process of firing most of its staff, according to a report by the Financial News, citing two people familiar with the matter. Founded in 2013 with backing from Transfer Wise founder Taavet Hinrikus, venture capital firm Passion Capital and Adam Knight, Coinfloor was estimated to employ about 40 people before the newly planned cuts. Coinfloor CEO Obi Nwosu told the London-based newspaper that the company has “seen significant change in trade volume across the market.” He also stated that: “Coinfloor is currently undergoing a business restructure to focus on our competitive advantages in the marketplace and to best serve our clients. As part of this restructure, we are making some staff changes and redundancies.” Israeli Exchange Looks Abroad According…

Crypto Mining Becomes Less Profitable, Shifts Towards ‘Bigger Players,’ Report Shows

Crypto Mining Becomes Less Profitable, Shifts Towards ‘Bigger Players,’ Report Shows

Bitcoin (BTC) miner revenues for the first six months of 2018 have already surpassed results in 2017, but the miners themselves see little profit, weekly crypto outlet Diar reports Monday, October 8. As per the Diar report, the rewards and fees for BTC miners have already reached $4.7 billion in the first three quarters of 2018, around $1.4 billion more than the profits in all of 2017. Miners still gain 54,000 Bitcoin monthly, the outlet continues. However, mining is gradually becoming profitable only for “big guns” as electricity prices are constantly increasing. Diar assessments show that the miners paying retail electricity prices have shifted towards unprofitability for the first time this September. Revenue and profit ratio for miners in 2018. Source: Diar The Diar report notes: “Bitcoin mining has, at least for now, and most likely in the future, moved into the court of bigger players with deep pockets.” However, even major companies might have to adjust their business, according to Diar. For instance, Chinese mining giant Bitmain, which received 95 percent of its revenue in 2018 from the sale of miners, is “acting like a swing producer” and opening pools in U.S. in order to keep the network profitable for miners. As Diar wrote in the same weekly issue, San Francisco-based crypto exchange Coinbase’s U.S. dollar volumes have hit a 1-year low in the third quarter of 2018. However, in comparison to the same period last year, BTC trading volume is now slightly higher ($5.4 billion against $4.6 billion in 2017). In the meantime, exchange Bitstamp’s trading volume of BTC was around $4.4 billion, while it was at around $4.6 billion in the same period last year. As Cointelegraph has previously reported, Bitmain announced a $500 million investment in August in blockchain data center and mining facility in Texas. The construction was estimated to be launched in early 2019, with plans to bring in 400 local jobs in the first two years.

Forbes Partners With Civil to Publish Content on a Blockchain

Forbes Partners With Civil to Publish Content on a Blockchain

Business media giant Forbes is moving to the blockchain. The company, which operates a daily news web portal and prints a bi-weekly magazine, is moving its content to a distributed ledger-based platform provided by Civil, according to a blog post from Civil co-founder Matt Coolidge on Tuesday. As part of the partnership, Forbes will begin archiving aspects of its existing content on the platform, as well as working with the startup to “experiment with new methods of reader engagement.” Forbes senior vice president of product and technology, Salah Zalatimo, said the company is “relentlessly focused on rapid experimentation and implementation” to find how to draw in an audience, as well as how the journalism industry might look going forward. He added: “Forbes and Civil believe passionately in the mission of journalism, and together we can provide audiences with a level of unprecedented transparency around our content. We’ll also be able to expand the reach of our writers and identify new revenue channels over time.” The experiment will begin next year, when Forbes begins publishing some article metadata to a blockchain platform. Should this aspect succeed for both companies, Forbes will move to publish all article metadata to Civil’s platform, according to a press release. Forbes writers and editors will see blockchain publishing tools integrated into its content management system (CMS), which will help streamline the process of adding such metadata – which includes an author’s identity and some information about sources within a piece – to the company’s platform. Axios further reported that Forbes may look to use smart contracts to allow contributors to publish pieces to Forbes, Civil or blogging platform Medium, among other outlets, through its CMS. Forbes image via dennizn/Shutterstock The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

A16z, Binance and More Back Oasis Labs’ New Blockchain Startup Program

A16z, Binance and More Back Oasis Labs’ New Blockchain Startup Program

Blockchain startup Oasis Labs has teamed up with some notable venture capital firms and hedge funds to launch a new technology startup program. Announced Tuesday, the Oasis Startup Hub will focus on aiding firms building “privacy-first computing on blockchain” platforms, according to a press release. Accel, a16z crypto, Binance Labs, Pantera Capital and Polychain Capital will all provide support for the program. As structured, the hub will offer developers access to technical support and early access to new technology, as well as assistance and feedback from investors. Program members will further have the opportunity to work directly with investors and Oasis Labs engineers through working sessions, office hours and private events, the release indicates. In a statement, CEO Dawn Song explained that, “we’ve seen strong interest in our private testnet from companies and developers who want to build scalable applications that protect user data and put privacy first – and are constrained by existing platforms.” As such, Song added: “We’re encouraged by the diversity and volume of application developers who share our values and validate our approach. We designed the Oasis Startup Hub to bring experts together for invaluable interactions around how to design, build and deliver exciting new applications.” Oasis Labs already has several launch clients for the hub, which, while it did not name them in the release, are already working on applications that “require strong privacy protections.” At present, these applications include areas like decentralized credit scoring and distributed data marketplaces for artificial intelligence, though other startups can still apply to join the hub. Applications focusing on data protection will continue to gain importance, Accel partner Jake Flomenberg said in the release, noting the recent string of “high-profile privacy failures.” Similarly, Pantera Capital partner Paul Veradittakit commented that the hub “offers a unique opportunity” for funds “to share expertise and relationships to solve key issues around blockchain scalability and privacy, and move toward widespread adoption.” Editor’s note: This article has been updated. Golden egg image via Shutterstock The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

SpankChain Loses $40K in Hack Due to Smart Contract Bug

SpankChain Loses $40K in Hack Due to Smart Contract Bug

SpankChain, a cryptocurrency project focused on the adult industry, has suffered a breach that saw almost $40,000 in ethereum (ETH) stolen. In a blog post published Tuesday, the SpankChain team disclosed the hack, saying 165.38 ETH (worth around $38,000 at the time) had been lost at around 18:00 PST on Saturday. The intrusion, which the post said was made possible by a bug in the network’s payment channel smart contract, also caused $4,000 in SpankChain’s BOOTY token to be frozen. It apparently took over 24 hours for the project to realize the hack had taken place, with the post stating: “Unfortunately, as we were in the middle of investigating other smart contract bugs, we didn’t realize the hack had taken place until 7:00pm PST Sunday, at which point we took Spank.Live offline to prevent any additional funds from being deposited into the payment channels smart contract.” Of the cryptos stolen, $9,300 worth of ETH and BOOTY belonged to users, and the remainder to the project. According to the blog post, full refunds will be “sent directly to users’ SpankPay accounts, and will be available as soon as we reboot Spank.Live.” SpankChain warned of 2–3 days’ delay ahead while its developers patch the issue behind the hack, redeploy a new smart contract and fix the other contract issues that were already being worked on. Limits on the use of BOOTY tokens have also been put in place temporarily. So far, the team says, it seems the attack was due to a “reentrancy” bug, similar to the one that allowed a major hack of The DAO crypto project in 2016. “The attacker created a malicious contract masquerading as an ERC20 token, where the ‘transfer’ function called back into the payment channel contract multiple times, draining some ETH each time,” the team said, adding that it will undertake an “in-depth investigation of the attack” in the coming days. SpankChain further conceded it had decided not to pay for a security audit for the payment channel contract due to the costs involved, However, “taking into account both the perception value and opportunity cost of the time spent reacting to the hack, it would have been worth it,” the post says. The firm concluded by pledging it would improve its security practices, “making…

Crypto Fund Wins License From Swiss Markets Watchdog

Crypto Fund Wins License From Swiss Markets Watchdog

Switzerland’s financial markets regulator has issued a license to a cryptocurrency investment fund in a move that opens the door for wider institutional participation in the country’s crypto activities. Zug-based Crypto Finance AG announced on Tuesday that the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) has given the green light to its subsidiary, Crypto Fund AG, to legally act as an asset manager. A search on the FINMA database shows that Crypto Fund AG – founded by former UBS banker Jan Brzezek in 2017 – is now authorized as a manager of “collective investments” under the country’s Collective Investment Schemes Act. With the license, the firm said Crypto Fund AG is now allowed to manage and distribute both domestic and foreign funds for investing in crypto-related projects. The registration as an asset manager arrives as an extension to another license that Crypto Fund AG received from FINMA in June which limited the firm’s activities to merely distributing funds to qualified investors. Brzezek said in the release: “The importance of crypto assets is growing and our aim is to accelerate maturity in these markets. Regulatory recognition remains highly sought after by participants, as seen in recent press and company statements.” The news comes as Switzerland continues to gain traction as a country offering a relatively welcoming regulatory regime for companies working with cryptocurrencies and blockchain. FINMA notably issued guidelines early this year that clarified when it would class tokens as securities and what crypto projects need to do to carry out ICO activities while remaining compliant. In June, SIX, the primary stock exchange in Switzerland, announced it is developing a blockchain-powered trading platform that is aiming to tokenize traditional financial assets to boost liquidity for institutional investors. Meanwhile, SEBA Crypto AG, another Zug-based crypto startup (also founded by former UBS bankers), is seeking a banking and securities dealer license from FINMA, having raised $104 million in a bid to become a regulated crypto bank, as CoinDesk reported last month. Switzerland image via Shutterstock The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

Bitcoin Core Developer Advocates Credit Card Payments Over BTC

Bitcoin Core Developer Advocates Credit Card Payments Over BTC

News Bitcoin Core developer Jimmy Song has caused controversy by suggesting that bitcoin enthusiasts would be better off using credit cards as a means of payment. He described this strategy as being “more rational and convenient” than making multiple onchain transactions. His advice flies in the face of the rationale behind Bitcoin and has provoked a strong response. Also read: Credit Card Cartels Landed With $6.2 Billion Price-Fixing Bill Jimmy Song Sings the Praises of Fiat Currency Bitcoin Core developers are expected to advocate the use of the cryptocurrency protocol they help to maintain. Jimmy Song’s invocation to use credit cards, where possible, has thus been greeted with incredulity in some quarters. “If you want to use bitcoin as a method of payment,” he began his tweet, implying that there was something odd about wanting to make payments with a cryptocurrency whose whitepaper is titled “a peer-to-peer electronic cash system.” Song went on to describe his proposal for using credit cards to fund day-to-day payments and then paying off monthly bills in bitcoin. The justification for doing so was that such a mechanism would entail performing a single onchain transaction, rather than multiple ones for each purchase. Song’s tweet, liked by various Bitcoin Core developers and assorted cheerleaders, is not uncharacteristic. Blockstream CSO Samson Mow has previously opined that bitcoin “isn’t for people that live on less than $2 a day,” and asserted that such individuals may not even be computer literate enough to safely transact with cryptocurrencies. If you want to use Bitcoin as a method of payment, this strategy is more rational and convenient than doing lots of on-chain tx’s: 1. Spend with your credit card with no debt on it.2. When your credit card bill comes, sell just enough bitcoin to pay the bill. — Jimmy Song (송재준) (@jimmysong) October 8, 2018 Core Developers Dissuade Daily Use of Bitcoin A number of Bitcoin Core developers have voiced similar opinions to Song, including urging members of a meetup not to use their BTC to pay for dinner. The notion that the bitcoin ledger is sacrosanct, and that users should avoid sullying it with trifling transactions for everyday purchases, is an odd one to espouse, especially by figures who effectively serve as ambassadors for BTC…